Sticks, girls & guitars


AmaLuna Cirque du Soleil on at the Royal Albert Hall until March 6th

These French Canadian performers have long had the patent on creating acts that mesmerise and make your heart pound. Yet, they may just have outdone themselves.

The Balance Goddess created a silence that was so deafening I couldn’t even hear my heart – maybe it stopped.  With every stick she collected and added to her structure silence boomed throughout the Royal Albert Hall.  At the end as she flicked her wrist to collapse the gorgeous art she’d created, never before had I understood the real meaning of bravery in a performance.

Last year’s wheel of death where the rather yummy acrobats defied gravity above the heads of their audience simply cannot compare.  Yes, I held my breath as they leapt about. But if they’d missed the audience would have understood, the show would have been intact.

Not so with the Balance Goddess and her sticks. If she’d dropped a stick or lost control of the structure that was it for the show.  That’s all anyone would have remembered and they would never have known her intent. Given the number of performers involved, can you imagine the pressure? Serious kudos to her. First class bravery.

And wow was it spine tillingly.

Amaluna’s other star? The music.  Always Cirque music is fantastic, here it vied with a girl and her sticks to steal the show.

And I should of course add that the whole show is a celebration of women – old and young. Girl power newly interpreted, stunningly beautiful and with simplicity at its heart, just like all good women!

If Cirque for you is all about the big acts one after another taking your breath away – then skip this. If you want to float away to join a mythical island for just a little while you’ll love it.  It’s been a little while since Cirque combined the music, the setting artistry and the acts with their trademark global story telling better than this.

Now to wait another whole year…

Churchill wore the first onesie

Churchill’s Scientists   The Science Museum South Kensington til 1st March

Sir Winston Churchill was clearly never going to be a dedicated follower of fashion. In fact, I imagine he abhorred the idea of fashion.  Yet, it now seems he was a trend setter.  One of the highlights that visitors to this exhibition can see is Churchill’s velvet green onesie.  Apparently he had it made as it was useful in an air raid.  Seriously!

Dominated by a textual and photographic telling of the story.  The exhibition isn’t tactile enough to inspire or interest the primary schooler despite the age range of 8+.  But older students with an appreciation of science will find it interesting – but probably not enough for that to be the sole reason you head to the Science Museum.

One thing that should inspire those thinking on a career in science is the impact their choice could have – this exhibition clearly plays well to that.

The Big Little Sister is always interested in the achievements and progress of women.  The most powerful message here is that there were women involved – sure a small number.   But if we created a list of the top scientists interacting with David Cameron and co today, would there be 50 years worth of more?  Sadly, I think not.

So, if you have a daughter perhaps the best thing you can do in the Science Museum is skip Winston’s onesie and head up to the Launch pad on the 3rd floor.  Inspire her with stuff she can see and do, not a story from 50 years ago.

I also wonder who at the Science Museum defined Science – Alan Turing and the Enigma gang were for me noticeable by their absence.